The City of Cape Town’s libraries are becoming more tech savvy and resilient against load-shedding.

The City of Cape Town’s Library and Information Services is implementing a number of interventions to ensure they can offer as many services as possible during load shedding. In addition, new technology is being introduced to more City libraries.

The City is deploying UPS units to safeguard IT infrastructure. These units will maintain network services during power outages. By the end of the 2023/24 financial year, 68 libraries will have these power supplies, ensuring Wi-Fi access during power failures.

‘One of our goals is to provide access to educational and recreational resources and keeping our patrons connected ensures we achieve that goal. It is not only about an uninterrupted power supply, but also helping our learners continue their research and providing patrons with access to opportunities. Libraries are able to reach patrons beyond their physical locations and we’re able to connect to residents easier and on more platforms,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross.

In line with these objectives, libraries have also revised borrowing privileges.

The borrowing privileges have been amended to better accommodate access to information.

Now, the loan period for all formats including books, CDs, and DVDs (excluding high-demand study materials), is two weeks, reduced from one month.

Additionally, the loan period for DVDs has been extended from two days to two weeks.

This change allows users to enjoy their DVDs in a more relaxed manner without the pressure of incurring fines or the effort of returning items in a short time frame.

The quantity of items that patrons can borrow has also been adjusted to support equitable access to resources at all times.

This adjustment allows for a quicker circulation of materials, ensuring more patrons can access the resources they require in a timely manner.


Additional initiatives include:

• Access to the Library Management Software system. Each library has received a laptop that allows staff to check-in and out library material on the library system during power outages, either offline or online where UPS units are in place.

• The Wi-Fi footprint of libraries has been steadily expanding, with 90 out of 102 facilities now able to provide patrons with access to online services. By 2024/25, all 102 facilities will offer Wi-Fi access.

• E-Tablets are being configured and distributed to libraries. Currently, 32 libraries have each received a set of five. Educational applications and e-books are installed on these devices, aiding in the development of critical literacy and digital literacy skills needed in today’s world. Libraries are using these tablets in their digital literacy and reading programs throughout the year.


‘Libraries provide access to a wide variety of information and resources. We’re enabling patrons to not only stay connected at all time, but helping our younger patrons become skilled in the digital and technology spaces,’ added Councillor Van der Ross.

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